A couple weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Tom Ammiano. For those of you who don’t know who Tom is: Tom was the first teacher to come out in SF back in the 1970s, while teaching and advocating for kids in the Mission (which was not the boutique-y neighborhood it is now). He organized teachers, fought bad police, and advocated for immigrant kids. He went to run for the school board, won and became board president. After that he ran for the board of supes and after a few times he won. On the board, he pushed for universal healthcare (Healthy SF), police reform, medical marijuana, and other progressive/radical things. He ran for mayor and made Willie Brown spend too much money. In San Francisco, he is the third person in the Harvey Milk, Harry Britt, Ammiano trifecta – that is radical/progressive gay SF politicians.
After he was termed out as a supe, he ran for state assembly and won. In Sacramento, he pushed for issues that others thought were impossible: Legal rec marijuana and trans rights being two he told would never happen. They did because Tom pushed for them and never gave up. Also because, as a community activist, he knew that you had to have a movement behind you to create change. Tom also served as chair on the public safety committee, where he fought for police reform. On top of that,
Tom is also a stand-up comedian. He is very funny, charming and warm. The good folks in this town love Tom. The greedy shit bags hate him, though even some of them like the guy personally. One of the reason why is because the man is honest and says exactly what he thinks, not in a stupid Trump phony populist way, but as a true “man of the people.” We talk about a lot of stuff in the interview, but perhaps the most important are Tom’s thoughts on how to create change on things like police reform. Also, that you should never give up, even in the darkest times (Tom was active during the AIDS crisis so he knows dark), you band together and fight. Anyway, I really enjoyed doing this interview. I hope you get something out of it, too. Read the interview here!